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Who is Involved in the Health of the Oceans Initiatives?

Five federal departments and agencies are leading the government’s Health of the Oceans Initiatives. These partners include:

Under the National Water Strategy, Canada will work closely with others, including its provincial, territorial, Aboriginal and international partners, to co-operatively manage the marine environment.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)

  • A national and international leader in marine safety, and in the management of ocean and freshwater resources.
  • Responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs to support Canada’s scientific, ecological, social and economic interests in oceans and fresh waters.
  • Helps ensure the safe movement of people and goods through its departmental activities and presence on Canadian waters.
  • Integrates environmental, economic and social perspectives to ensure Canada’s ocean and freshwater resources benefit current and future generations.
  • Guided by two key pieces of legislation:
    • Oceans Act — an Act that gives responsibility to the Minister for leading oceans management, and providing Canadian Coast Guard and hydrographic services on behalf of the Government of Canada; and
    • Fisheries Act — an Act that gives responsibility to the Minister for the management of fisheries, habitat and aquaculture.
  • One of three responsible authorities under the Species at Risk Act.

Transport Canada (TC)

  • Works with industry and the public to regulate, promote and enforce safe and sustainable marine practices.
  • Oversees the safety, security and marine infrastructure of small vessels, large commercial vessels and pleasure craft.
  • Regulates the safe transport of dangerous goods by water and helps protect the marine environment.

Environment Canada (EC)

  • Preserves and enhances the quality of the natural environment.
  • Identifies and protects nationally important wildlife habitat within terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems of Canada.
  • Conserves Canada’s renewable resources.
  • Conserves and protects Canada’s water resources.
  • Forecasts weather and environmental change.
  • Enforces rules relating to boundary waters.
  • Coordinates federal environmental policies and programs.
  • Responsible authority under the Species at Risk Act.

Parks Canada Agency (PCA)

  • Recognized as a national and international protected area leader.
  • Protects and presents nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, and fosters public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of these special places. This family of protected areas includes national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.
  • Creates and manages a system of national marine conservation areas representative of the marine environments of Canada’s Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and Great Lakes under the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act.
  • Protects the marine environment within marine components of several terrestrial national parks under the Canada National Parks Act.
  • Within these protected areas, Parks Canada also has an enforcement role under the Fisheries Act, Species at Risk Act and Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)

  • Administers Crown land and water resources in the North (through the development and implementation of policies, legislation, regulations and programs offered primarily through their regional offices in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut).
  • Responsible for water management under Section 5 of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act. (This gives INAC provincial-type responsibilities for the North. The federal Crown has ownership of the water and other natural resources in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.)
  • Controls water use and waste disposal into water (through regulatory processes established under the federal Northwest Territories Waters Act, Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act). Water use, and waste disposal in or near water, must be licensed by water licensing boards or authorized by regulation. The water boards are mandated to conserve, develop and utilize waters to ensure the best benefit for all Canadians, and for residents of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in particular.
  • Has other water management responsibilities (in addition to its main responsibility under the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act and federal water legislation) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act and Dominion Water Power Act.